Asian Perspectives: The Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific is co-edited by Mike T. Carson and Rowan K. Flad from different parts of the globe. Carson, at the University of Guam, first joined Laura Junker (editor, 2001-2015) as co-editor to help manage a smooth transition to a new team. Flad, at Harvard University, joined Carson as co-editor for Volume 54.
Flad’s expertise lies in the archaeology of China and East Asia in general, and Carson’s work focuses on Pacific Oceania and Southeast Asia. Given the journal’s vast and diverse scope, they consult on manuscripts, identify peer reviewers, and work with the editorial board through frequent email communication and monthly online video chats with assistant editor Nat Erb-Satullo of Oxford. Here they reflect on the journal’s history and future.
In his Introduction to the first issue of Asian Perspectives, dated the summer of 1957, founding editor Wilhelm Solheim wrote that the goal was “to improve communications between scholars working within the field of Far Eastern pre-history,” but that “[w]e can not at present confine ourselves to the ‘field’ of Far Eastern prehistory as it has not been established as a ‘field.’”
These decades later, what issues or questions are particularly relevant in your field?
Rowan K. Flad: We still endeavor to connect scholars working within the broader field of Far Eastern pre-history, although we are decidedly open about the geographic and chronological boundaries of relevant scholarship. We engage the interests of our broad readership by ensuring that the reviewers of each article represent varied perspectives. One challenge is ensuring that the various strains of the discipline of archaeology, from the very scientific, to the more humanistic, continue to be represented in ways that encourage dialogue.
Mike T. Carson: The journal embraces a liberal view of the archaeology of the Asia-Pacific region. When the journal was formed more than 60 years ago, the region was sorely under-represented in world archaeology and most scientific disciplines. At that time, the journal editors made an effort to accommodate perspectives beyond European and North American views of the “Far East.” The journal became known as a venue for publishing and learning about archaeological findings from many different Asian and Pacific sub-regions, emphasizing their inter-connections.
Every year, we learn more and more about the archaeology of every geographic area throughout the region. The journal maintains its role in communicating these new discoveries, now taking advantage of internet access, digital databases, and an increasingly interconnected global society of scholars. In these ways, we hope that Asian Perspectives will continue to elevate the profile of the Asia-Pacific region.
Is there an issue that you’re particularly proud of?
MC: I am equally proud of every issue of the journal in terms of its admirable quality and new information. Over the last decades, the journal occasionally has fluctuated in its production schedule, but we now have regained a steady flow of regular output. I am pleased every time we publish a new issue on schedule.
RF: We take pride in having managed to produce the journal rapidly without sacrificing the high quality of editing our readers have come to expect (due in large part to the expert technical skills of our Managing Editor, Dr. Jaida Samudra). We believe that this is because the journal is published by a university press and therefore not subject to some of the pressures that journals published by large for-profit consolidators seem to be under.
We are excited about an upcoming issue focusing on Korean archaeology that includes some real quality articles.
Where is Asian Perspectives going next?
RF: We are still revamping the style of the journal and finding ways to incorporate new directions in data production and data sharing, without sacrificing the traditional format that has always worked well for Asian Perspectives.
MC: Like any academic journal, Asian Perspectives continually must adapt to new production technologies, changing needs of our readership, and the standards of represented scientific disciplines. Lately, we have adjusted the appearance of the journal, begun including color images in the online version, and improved the functionality of the manuscript management system.
We expect to see more improvements over the next few years, especially concerning the increasing use of languages other than English in personal and place names and bibliographic references. We would be happy to learn what our readers and contributors might want to suggest for the future.
Do you have any advice for academics interested in submitting to Asian Perspectives?
MC: Prospective authors may wish to explore online information about the journal, our style guide, and examples of recently published issues. These explorations will enable prospective authors to gain a good sense of the scope of what we publish.
We encourage potential contributors to contact us in advance about the suitability of new work for the journal. Sometimes, we can suggest modifications, refinements, or expansion of the scope of new work. In some cases, we might see how a proposed article could interface with other manuscripts already in review.
RF: It is always a good idea to write to tell us what you hope to publish to see if it is a good fit for the journal. We very much appreciate thorough cover letters that explain the impact of the proposed article and its main point and audience. We particularly appreciate this if you are sending in a revision to a previous submission that has been returned with reviewer comments. Taking all reviewer comments seriously and addressing them explicitly makes it much easier to consider the revision for publication.
This is Part 6 in a series of University of Hawai`i Press blog posts celebrating University Press Week and highlighting scholarship published by UH Press journals in the past year. Read our introductory blog post here.Our hope is that this series will shed new light on how UH Press “sells the facts,” so to speak, and the value our 24 journals bring to our very existence. Links to each journal and article are provided below.*
Context: Archeologist Gina L. Barnes takes a look at tsunami sites through the lens of disaster preparedness: “tsunami damage seldom leads to collapse of a society or civilization, though the socio-economic status of the affected society is crucial to the nature of human response […] Disaster archaeology, including tsunami archaeology, is thus a timely and welcome approach to understanding the situation of the world today.”
Context: This study joins dozens of Pacific Science research articles that show the effects of climate change, and it appears with seven open-access articles that focus on the challenges facing native forest restoration in Hawai’i and the Pacific region. (And while we’re “selling the facts,” we should mention Pacific Science also published a peer-reviewed biological fact in the past year: the discovery of a new species of Stylasterid in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.)
Context: As streams dry up due to climate change, beaver are being displaced from their natural habitats. This study critically examines five institutional blockages to beaver recolonization in Oregon through multiple interviews, policies, and publications.
Context: Nic Maclellan reflects on the U.S.’s political influence on the Pacific region, especially as it relates to environmental regulation: “Debates over climate action, West Papua, fisheries, and trade continued as a feature of regional affairs in 2016, often dividing Pacific governments and their international partners. The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president in November set the stage for these divisions to continue, given Trump’s statements during the election campaign on climate change and America’s new directions in foreign policy.” This introduction is followed by more reports from the field, including Fiji, Papua, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Also appearing in this issue: “Climate Change and the Imagining of Migration: Emerging Discourses on Kiribati’s Land Purchase in Fiji” by Elfriede Hermann and Wolfgang Kempf.
*Institutional access to online aggregators such as Project MUSE may be required for full-text reading. For access questions, please see the Project MUSE FAQ available here or contact your local library.
Established in 1947, the University of Hawai`i Press supports the mission of the university through the publication of books and journals of exceptional merit. The Press strives to advance knowledge through the dissemination of scholarship—new information, interpretations, methods of analysis—with a primary focus on Asian, Pacific, Hawaiian, Asian American, and global studies. It also serves the public interest by providing high-quality books, journals and resource materials of educational value on topics related to Hawai`i’s people, culture, and natural environment. Through its publications the Press seeks to stimulate public debate and educate both within and outside the classroom.
In the Editors’ Note Mike T. Carson and Rowan K. Flad write:
The current issue of Asian Perspectives (Volume 55, issue 2) maintains the tradition of keeping readers in touch with new archaeological research findings, approaches, and ideas across the Asia-Pacific region. As always, each work has a geographic focus that refers to substantive datasets from particular places as concrete examples, yet is broadly relevant to research in other regions. Looking into the journal’s future volumes and issues, we invite new manuscripts that emphasize the larger implications of Asian and Pacific archaeological studies beyond geographic boundaries .
In Palaeoecology and Forager Subsistence Strategies during the
Pleistocene–Holocene Transition: A Reinvestigation of the
Zooarchaeological Assemblage from Spirit Cave, Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand authors Cyler Conrad, Charles Higham, Masaki Eda, and Ben Marwick write:
This reanalysis uses the zooarchaeological assemblage recovered from Spirit Cave to understand hunter-gatherer use and occupation at the site during the Pleistocene – Holocene transition. W e analyze bone fragmentation, sample size, and relative abundance to establish the preservation and overall composition of the remaining fauna. Identification of several new taxa, including roundleaf bats (Hipposideros larvatus and bicolor), elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), black marsh turtle (Siebenrockiella crassicollis), Burmese hare ( Lepus cf. peguensis) and a potential red junglefowl ( Phasianidae — ?Gallus gallus) provide insights into hunter-gatherer occupation, palaeoecology, and subsistence strategies between 12,000 and 7000 years b.p.
Ceramic Firing Structures in Prehistoric and Ancient Societies of the Russian Far East
Irina S. Zhushchikhovskaya, Yury G. Nikitin, 121
Archaeological records reveal the history of pottery and roof-tile firing devices in the southern part of the Russian Far East, the neighboring Korean Peninsula, and northeast China. Chronological parameters are from the first millennium B.C. through the thirteenth century A.D., including the Palaeometal period of the Prehistory epoch, Pre-State period, and Early States epoch. Different types of firing kilns varied in complexity of form and technology, including the tunneled sloping kiln, manthou kiln, and vertical up-draught kiln. These specific characteristics reflect the involvement of the ancient southern Russian Far East in the processes of cultural interaction within the larger East Asia region. Keywords
southern Russian Far East, ceramic firing kilns, Prehistory epoch, Pre-State period, Early States epoch
Mapping Local Perspectives in the Historical Archaeology of Vanuatu Mission Landscapes
James L. Flexner, 2
The concept of place is a powerful theoretical tool in the social sciences and humanities, which can be especially useful in archaeological work that involves community-based collaboration. Using place as a starting point, archaeologists can beneficially use their skills to answer questions that are of relevance to the local communities with which we work while also advancing knowledge about the past. For historical archaeology, this often involves engaging in dialogue across multiple lines of evidence, including material remains from the past, written documents, and local oral traditions. Recent fieldwork on the islands of Erromango and Tanna, Vanuatu, exploring early landscapes relating to Christian conversion uses this kind of approach. A major part of preliminary survey work involves mapping features in the mission sites and surrounding areas. Archaeological cartographic techniques help build a sense of place that provides engaging research for a collaborative environment with local Melanesian communities, while also producing new perspectives on colonialism in the South Pacific. This approach is not limited to the recent past, being applicable to any collaborative, community-based archaeological research that incorporates the use of oral traditions. Keywords
Melanesia, historical archaeology, Vanuatu, missions, landscape archaeology, mapping, oral traditions, community archaeology Continue reading “Asian Perspectives, vol. 53, no. 1 (2014)”→
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